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Chiacchiera A F.,Laboratory of Signal dependent Transcription | Simone C.,Laboratory of Signal dependent Transcription
Cell Cycle

FoxO proteins are an evolutionarily conserved subfamily of transcription factors involved in tumor suppression, regulation of energy metabolism and development in several tissues, and are mainly regulated by phosphorylation- dependent nuclear/cytoplasmic shuttling. The transcriptional activity of FoxO3A, one of the four members of the family, is further modulated by AMPK, one of the key regulators of cellular metabolism, which basically shifts cell machinery from energy-consuming to energy-producing pathways. We recently demonstrated that the AMPK/FoxO3A energy sensor pathway is still inducible in human cancer cells in response to metabolic stress, as it becomes activated in colorectal and ovarian cancer cells in response to the inhibition of p38α. Activation of the FoxO3A transcriptional program initially induces autophagy as an attempt to retain energy to survive, whereas under persistent stress conditions it triggers autophagic cell death. In this review, we focus on the connections between AMPK and FoxO3A, describing their central role as modulators of fundamental processes such as stress resistance, cell metabolism, autophagy and cell death, and highlighting the therapeutic potential of pharmacological modulation of the AMPK-FoxO3A axis. © 2010 Landes Bioscience. Source

Grossi V.,Laboratory of Signal dependent Transcription | Simone C.,Laboratory of Signal dependent Transcription
Journal of Oncology

Ovarian cancer is sensitive to chemotherapy with platinum compounds; however, the therapy success rate is significantly lowered by a high incidence of recurrence and by the acquisition of drug resistance. These negative outcomes mainly depend on altered apoptotic and drug resistance pathways, determining the need for the design of new therapeutic strategies to improve patient survival. This challenge has become even more critical because it has been recognized that hindering uncontrolled cell growth is not sufficient as the only curative approach. In fact, while current therapies are mostly conceived to impair survival of highly proliferating cells, several lines of research are now focusing on cancer-specific features to specifically target malignant cells with the aim of avoiding drug resistance and reducing adverse effects. Recently, great interest has been generated by the identification of metabolic reprogramming mechanisms occurring in cancer cells, such as the increase in glycolysis levels. In this light, pharmacologic manipulation of relevant pathways involved in cancer-specific metabolism and drug resistance could prove an effective approach to treat ovarian cancer patients. Copyright 2012 Valentina Grossi and Cristiano Simone. Source

Simone C.,Laboratory of Signal dependent Transcription | Peserico A.,Laboratory of Signal dependent Transcription
Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology

The balance between protein acetylation and deacetylation controls several physiological and pathological cellular processes, and the enzymes involved in the maintenance of this equilibriumacetyltransferases (HATs) and deacetylases (HDACs)have been widely studied. Presently, the evidences obtained in this field suggest that the dynamic acetylation equilibrium is mostly maintained through the physical and functional interplay between HAT and HDAC activities. This model overcomes the classical vision in which the epigenetic marks of acetylation have only an activating function whereas deacetylation marks have a repressing activity. Given the existence of several players involved in the preservation of this equilibrium, the identification of these complex networks of interacting proteins will likely foster our understanding of how cells regulate intracellular processes and respond to the extracellular environment and will offer the rationale for new therapeutic approaches based on epigenetic drugs in human diseases. Copyright © 2011 Alessia Peserico and Cristiano Simone. Source

Grossi V.,Cancer Genetics Laboratory | Liuzzi M.,University of Bari | Murzilli S.,Laboratory of Lipid Metabolism and Cancer | Martelli N.,Laboratory of Lipid Metabolism and Cancer | And 5 more authors.
Cancer Biology and Therapy

In the search for new strategies to efficiently fight colorectal cancer, efforts are being increasingly focused on targeting regulatory signaling pathways involved in cancer-specific features. As a result, several studies have recently addressed the therapeutic potential of molecularly-targeted drugs capable of inhibiting the activity of protein kinases involved in relevant signaling cascades. Here we show that simultaneous inhibition of the DFG-in and DFG-out conformations of p38α by means of type-I and type-II inhibitors is beneficial to impair more efficiently its kinase activity. Moreover, we found that SB202190 (type-I) and sorafenib (type-II) synergize at the molecular and biological level, as co-treatment with these compounds enhances tumor growth inhibition and induction of apoptosis both in colorectal cancer cell lines and animal models. These results support the need to reconsider sorafenib as a therapeutic agent against colorectal cancer and provide new insights that underline the importance to elucidate the activity of protein kinase inhibitors for the treatment of colorectal carcinoma. © 2012 Landes Bioscience. Source

Peserico A.,Laboratory of Signal dependent Transcription | Chiacchiera F.,Laboratory of Signal dependent Transcription | Grossi V.,Cancer Genetics Laboratory | Matrone A.,Laboratory of Signal dependent Transcription | And 11 more authors.
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

Reduction of nutrient intake without malnutrition positively influences lifespan and healthspan from yeast to mice and exerts some beneficial effects also in humans. The AMPK-FoxO axis is one of the evolutionarily conserved nutrient-sensing pathways, and the FOXO3A locus is associated with human longevity. Interestingly, FoxO3A has been reported to be also a mitochondrial protein in mammalian cells and tissues. Here we report that glucose restriction triggers FoxO3A accumulation into mitochondria of fibroblasts and skeletal myotubes in an AMPK-dependent manner. A low-glucose regimen induces the formation of a protein complex containing FoxO3A, SIRT3, and mitochondrial RNA polymerase (mtRNAPol) at mitochondrial DNA-regulatory regions causing activation of the mitochondrial genome and a subsequent increase in mitochondrial respiration. Consistently, mitochondrial transcription increases in skeletal muscle of fasted mice, with a mitochondrial DNA-bound FoxO3A/SIRT3/mtRNAPol complex detectable also in vivo. Our results unveil a mitochondrial arm of the AMPK-FoxO3A axis acting as a recovery mechanism to sustain energy metabolism upon nutrient restriction. © 2012 Springer Basel. Source

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